Martin Beck Nworah Monday, March 20, 2017 2
When you see a state that is truly blessed with rich human and natural resources, your first port of call is the engine driving the economy and people of that state. In Anambra State, our youths are our greatest strength and gift from God. And amongst the youths, we are equally blessed with those youths who have dedicated their life in service of our society and common agenda to achieve success and excellence.
Nonso Smart Okafor is one of those youths who will laugh with you when you're happy, cry with you when you're lonely and mourning, dance with you when joy is flowing like a river and will always assist you when tribulations fill your path. From very humble beginnings, he has risen to be a beacon of hope for so many young people in our State. Across the 21 local government areas and 326 wards of our state, his name echoes like a roaring lion reassuring the youths their voice will always be heard.
In our Youth Council in Anambra State today, we need The Smart Formula. The Smart Formula is a formula for success, grit, determination and excellence. Pick a glass of water, come with me and let me take you down the memory and life lane of this quintessential young man who has remained an enigmatic and inspirational figure to thousands of youths across our state.
In 2006/2007, Nonso Smart Okafor was the Students Union Government President of Federal Polytechnic Oko and also doubled as the Chairman of all the SUG Presidents Forum, South East of Nigeria. While in office, he fought vociferously for the reduction of the hike in the school fees of his fellow students directly from the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja. On countless number of occasions, he was enticed with money and other material things to drop his Aluta struggle but he remained steadfast. Looking at the faces of the students and their daily sufferings, he couldn't close his eyes and allow his fellow students, who in trust, gave him their votes to protect their interest. If he couldn't betray undergraduate students, how much more dogged and informed youths of Anambra State? He will definitely stand in the rain and defile all odds to get good dividends for us.
Between 2007 and 2009, he served as the National President of Nnewi Academics Congress, President Special Duties of St. Augustine's Catholic Chaplaincy Fed Poly Oko and as the President of the National Association of Catholic Corpers (NACC) (Batch B).
In 2013, given his burning desire to impact more on the lives of Anambra Youths and improve on his leadership vision, he was elected as the Program/Social Secretary of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (Anambra State Chapter). Between 2013 till date, he has served as the President of the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON), St. Flavius Catholic Church Lagos, Chairman Board of Trustees of the Nnewi Academic Forum, President of New Breed Organisation and the President of Progressive Anambra Youths (PAY).
Of course, all these leadership positions come with great responsibilities and onerous tasks. And you may wonder, how has Nonso Smart Okafor developed the required expertise to man these positions? In giving The Smart Formula to Anambra State Youths, we are also giving them practical ways through which he achieved some of the things he has done. This is the true story of a Youth inspiring all of us with his life.
In building and equipping his leadership arsenal, Nonso Smart Okafor attended the Discovering Young Leaders Programme(DYLP) of the Commonwealth Regional Office, Lasuka Zambia.
He was also a delegate at the Youth Leadership Programme(YLP) of LEAP, Africa Funded by FORD Foundation, Samsung Real Dream (SRD) Programme by the FATE FOUNDATION Lagos. These trainings were very much instrumental in giving Nonso Smart Okafor a global perspective in approaching and dealing with youth issues.
He attended the Microsoft Employability Training of LEAP funded by Microsoft Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and the Integrity Institute of Leap Africa, Lekki Lagos. He was also a delegate to the Mentorship Programme with Microsoft 4Afrika funded by U. S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF)
He was a major youth contributor and participant at the Leadership, Ethics and Civics Programme, Volunteers training of LEAP Africa. The Paid Internship with Microsoft 4Africa powered by IREX, and The United States Agency for International Development(USAID).
He was a delegate to Young African Society Summit at World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, 2014. Delegate to World African Youth Summit in Johannesburg South Africa, 2015. Delegate to YALI West African Conference, Accra Ghana, 2016. And a host of others.
Most importantly and worthy of great mention is his participation in the Executive Coaching funded by Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and Founder of Econet Group and a renowned Entrepreneur in the world today.
As a shining light, he kept on showing the way to thousands of youths with his life's journey in both leadership and entrepreneurship. These acts didn't go unnoticed as he was recognised countless number of times by different Organizations and Youth bodies in Anambra State and beyond.
At the National level, he was amongst the 10 recipients of the Most Outstanding Nigerian Youth Award(2010) by LEAP Africa and International Youth Foundation, USA. He was also awarded the Henry Dunant Gold Medal/Merit Award by Nigerian Red Cross Society and Red Crescent.
After his tenure in office and when he must've journeyed far in life, he was invited back and awarded the Best SUG President Award by Students Union Government, Federal Polytechnic Oko and St. Augustine's Catholic Chaplaincy. A sign of great leadership and service to the people.
And the big one at the International level; he was awarded the Green Champion Award as a Climate Change Advocate by United States Government.
My fellow youths, with a seasoned Youth Leader in the person of Nonso Smart Okafor, what more do we need than to join hands and work towards the betterment of our Youth Council in the state.
As a true son of Anambra State, he comprehends the need of job creation, entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for young people. This passion made him a member of several associations and organisations. He is a Member, Nnewi Chamber of Commerce, Alamo City Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio, USA and Austine Black Chamber, Austin Texas.
Across Africa, he is a Member, Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni; Member, LEAP Africa Youth Leadership Programme Alumni; Member, Commonwealth DYLP Alumni; Member, LEAP Africa Integrity Institute Alumni; Member, University of Texas IVP Alumni; Member, Coalition for Youth Capacity, Youngstar Foundation International and Member, Harambe Nigeria Alumni.
In Anambra State, Comrade Nonso Smart Okafor has very strong plans to engage our youths and give them a reason to believe in our Council again. First, there shall be a NYCN Stakeholders Consultative Council to help in tapping from the rich knowledge, wisdom and expertise of High Comrades and Distinguished Comrades in the Youth Council.
There shall be a yearly Annual Leadership Retreat for the officers of the Youth Council, VYOs, CBOs, FBOs and others. This leadership retreat will aid our young people in breeding and developing their leadership potentials. This is because we strongly believe that when you must've built the youth, you have built the nation.
To achieve success, there must be a strong synergy with the government and this must be maintained at all times for the benefit of our Youths in the State. Comrade Nonso Smart Okafor has this in mind as a top priority.
For our youths in Anambra State, there shall be an Annual Youth Agro-preneurship Conference to help them in exploring the many latent opportunities in the Agricultural Sector of our state and nation.
To increase the spirit of service and giving back to the society, community service initiatives will be initiated to help our youths to think less of themselves and more of what they can offer our state and our people.
As a Youth with interests across the world, Nonso Smart Okafor will help our youths to participate in International Exchange Programs. These programs will expose them to the outside world and give them an insight into global policies and economies.
Comrade Nonso Smart Okafor also intends to organize Annual Anambra State Youth Olympic which will be geared towards promotion and discovery of talents in the Sports sector.
Most importantly, we need a befitting Youth House. This is a passion burning deep in the heart of Comrade Nonso Smart Okafor tours five Anambra Youths, a Youth House that will stand as a tall symbol of our unity, progress and togetherness. This can be achieved!
Finally, Anambra State is the Light of the Nation and the pride of the East. Our young people deserve a Youth Leader who will give us quality representation and bring home the dividends of leadership to us. Truly, Nonso Smart Okafor is the man for our Youth Council in Anambra State.
Support The Smart Formula!
Build The Youths!!
Build The Nation!!!
Martin Beck Nworah (MBN)
SSA (Media and Publicity)
Nonso Smart Okafor Campaign Organisation (NSOCO)